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In our April 3, 2011, post, we pointed out how this GoDaddy/elephant-hunter story demonstrates journalism continually fails to ask the right questions and confuses press releases with fact-finding. And here's what they missed, that was right under their noses all along....

GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons smirks at the suffering of Zimbabweans

By Lou Bank
Published April 07, 2011, by The Zero

GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons has made the media rounds over the last few weeks, attempting to white-wash his trophy-hunting trip to Zimbabwe as a humanitarian mission.

He told ABC News Radio, "I think if you had all the facts and you knew exactly what was going on and the difference [killing elephants] makes in these people's lives there, you'd feel completely different."

He told the Phoenix, AZ, Fox News affiliate, "All these people that are complaining that this shouldn't happen, that these people who are starving to death otherwise shouldn't eat these elephants, you probably see them driving through at McDonald's or cutting a steak. [The Zimbabwe villagers] don't have that option."

He told the New York Times, "The elephants, which are overpopulated in Zimbabwe, constantly attack crops, and the people there are subsistence farmers who don't have the means to drive the elephants away. What it takes is someone like me to go into the field at night, find a bull elephant and kill it. Then the rest of the herd will leave the field for good."

And he posted on his own blog, "I spend a few weeks in Zimbabwe each year helping the farmers deal with problem elephants. The people there have very little, many die each year from starvation and one of the problems they have is the elephants, of which there are thousands and thousands, that trash many of their fields destroying the crops."

But if you dig a little deeper, Parsons' true view of Zimbabweans is revealed. A year ago, under the heading "Had no idea Africans liked me ... so much," Parsons tweeted a picture of himself smirking over the newspaper headline, "Bob is 'God's gift to Africa.' "

Parsons tweet from
Click here to see the original tweet

Out of context, that might not be shocking. But the story—published by The (Johannesburg) Times on March 01, 2010—is about the parliament of Zimbabwe spending money on advertising and lavish parties to celebrate Robert Mugabe's thirty years in power. The result of his reign of terror? To quote the story:

While Mugabe is being applauded by his supporters, nearly two million Zimbabwean's are dependent on food aid to survive. IRIN News reported that about 1.6 million Zimbabweans will be food-insecure between January and March 2010, with about 1.9 million receiving food aid. The report, based on an update compiled by several UN agencies, said at least 35% of children in Zimbabwe are severely malnourished. The report noted that Zimbabwe's economic recovery was sluggish and that the provision of basic services is still problematic. The amount of foreign currency in circulation was also very limited.
(Click here for the whole story)

So ... the "great humanitarian"? Smiling after reading about starvation and malnourishment? And thinking it's so funny he needs to share it with the world? Yeah, I can believe he went to Zimbabwe to "help the farmers."

Meanwhile, why are no journalists asking how Parsons learned about the "problem elephant"? Who declared the elephant to be a "problem"? How much did Parsons spend on the "hunt"? To whom did he pay that money?



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